Sniffing deeply, Caralee began to clean herself up a bit. The rain was picking up again and she didn't want to be sitting on the bench when it really started. She used the moisture that had collected in the cups of her palms to wipe down her face, then swung her feet back off the bench and stood up. She looked down at the crushed blossom that was her jacket. It was damp and there were little beads of water on it's concave wrinkles, but it would still make a fine towel. She wrung it out and pressed it against her face. It smelled like rain and wine coolers but she ignored the smell and dried as much of the water as she could. When she pulled it away it was printed with the chalky smears of make-up that her hands had missed. It looked like a white and red rorschach test. When she looked at it she saw a human stain, an ugly little girl with bad intentions and fat thighs. In reality, it looked like a duck.
Caralee bundled the jacket up and tucked it under her armpit, a few drops of water squeezed out and ran down her side leaving a long pink line from her armpit to her hip. She sighed exasperatedly but there was really nothing she could do about it. There wasn't a single thing to be done about any of the evening's events except return to the Carnival, hopefully with some semblance of dignity. She really didn't have a good reason for going back to the carnival, but she felt compelled to anyways. She knew that she would do no good by simply not going back. With an unusual consciousness of the sound of her feet on wet pavement, Caralee made her way back to the base of the hill.
From the top, she could see the path down to the chattering crowds clearly. There were small orange lanterns littered between her and the flamboyant tent which the main events took place in and the bodies of various strangers were huddled around them. She felt like a limping bird creeping through a wolf's den. Whenever she was forced to cross through or pass nearby one of the chattering clusters she would clutch her jacket tightly to her breast, feign interest in an object far off in the distance and press through. She felt every pair of eyes gouging away inside of her. Each glance was a talon recklessly flailing in her chest, searching for anything to clasp and tear out with a handful of sharp words. She clenched her teeth and pressed on in silence, closer to the restless masses inside the tent and further from the safety of the hill-top bench.